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Old 10-25-2002, 17:21   #1 (permalink)
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Bring back the old days

Standard disclaimer - this is personal opinion blah blah.

Was reading the local fish wrapper this morning, which has an article discussing the latest road safety / revenue raising measures being considered by our Victorian political masters.

After polishing the old crystal ball I thought it would be a good idea to see where all this is heading from the technology point of view.
Before I start with the predictions let me take a moment to look at where we have come from.

In my (largely) misspent youth, the height of police technology consisted of a calibrated speedo and in the really sophisticated vehicles this was actually capable of registering the highest speed recorded. Not that this mattered too much when the SA police were all driving three on the tree HG Kingswoods with the big block 186 motor, as these things were flat out at 95 mph anyway and needed a lot of road to get there. You still got caught but you had to be doing a fair bit over the limit before they'd even bother and you were just as likely to get your ass kicked as you were to be booked.
Mind you this also pre-dated the breathalyser so drink driving tests consisted of walking straight lines and touching the end of your nose - high tech stuff indeed.

A few years on saw the introduction of the amphometer - for those who don't know this consisted of two wires strung across the road and an instrument to record the elapsed time across the gap between the wires and translate that into a speed reading. They were clumsy to set up and fairly obvious to see but they represented the first real attempt to bring science to speed detection. In fairness, these were usually set up in known black spots as an attempt to slow drivers down rather than act as a revenue device.

A few years later saw the introduction of radar. Whilst these early units were not terribly sophisticated (they were just as likely to be recording the speed of a passing aircraft) they were largely accepted as gospel by the courts and became a valuable source of revenue for State governments. The initial concept was good. They were supposed to be used in black spots and have warning signs put up in the vicinity of their use as a deterrent to speeding but the sheer revenue potential of them soon put a stop to that. Those of us who felt this was unjust added radar detection devices to our vehicles in order to stay half a step ahead in the technology war.

At the present time we have a whole raft of speed detection technology. From the ubiquitous speed camera to mobile radar, slant radar and laser - no expense is spared today simply because the revenue return is so high. Couple this with reductions in the actual speed limits and the tolerances allowed and we have an absolute bonanza for the Governments. Furthermore, the mere possession of anti speed measuring devices puts you in the same category as a drug dealer and your car can be searched (in Vic / NSW) or impounded (Qld) if you are even suspected of having one.
Now don't get me wrong here - I am not endorsing the irresponsible use of speed but once we have reached the stage where 3 km/h over (in Vic) gets you nailed then it is clear that commonsense has gone out the window.

SO what does the future hold??

The reality is that the technology is now available that would actually stop vehicles from speeding (at least in modern vehicles) and in some parts of Europe this technology is being deployed in high accident zones. Do you think we'd see this here? About as likely as me winning the Mr Universe title. This is actually a solution that would assist road safety but diminish revenue so it hasn't got a snowflakes chance in hell of getting a guernsey.

More likely will be a continued move in the present direction with bigger fines, less tolerance and more speed detection technologies. Victoria is already well down this path with most of the major freeways littered with cameras - just as well they have got rid of the flash units otherwise a drive down the Ring Road at 103 km/h would make you feel like a rock star from all the flashes.
Plans are already under way to extend this camera network to the suburban arterials and who knows where this will end.

Driving used to be a pleasure. A nice piece of your favourite road or a late night cruise a few mph over the posted limit was to be enjoyed but now it seems that even a trip down the road is an exercise in watching the speedo and looking for cameras.
The roads have improved immeasurably in the last 25 years (as have the cars) and yet the speeds we are supposed to travel them on have reduced in both theoretical and real terms.

I'd really like to believe that this whole strategy had the support of the community at large and that I was just a social misfit for wanting to slip a wee bit over the speed limit on a 2a.m trip to Canberra. The facts don't support that. Victoria will issue almost 1.3 tickets this year for every license holder in the State and the roads I travel daily the traffic flow is 7-10 km/h over the limit all the time.
Pity we keep allowing ourselves to be continuously shafted in this manner.

I'd almost be happy to have the drum brakes, leaf springs, vinyl seats, crossply tyres and AirChief radio back if all the Government technology would disappear too.

Cheers
Russ
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Old 10-25-2002, 17:29   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Bring back the old days

Quote:
Originally posted by russellw

I'd almost be happy to have the drum brakes, leaf springs, vinyl seats, crossply tyres and AirChief radio back if all the Government technology would disappear too.

Cheers
Russ
well well well ... and we have this quoted

in essence.. I agree.. I havent been driving as long as you have russ but it has definitely deteriorated into making driving an exercise of being anal about 3kmh over and not about driving safely and enjoying the experience.
Unfortunately..once saw what happened to consolidated revenue .. they will never go back.
The best thing anyone can do is not speed... it takes money away from them !
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Old 10-25-2002, 18:36   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Those of us who felt this was unjust added radar detection devices to our vehicles in order to stay half a step ahead in the technology war.
and those of us who couldnt afford a good detector used to own one that went off as you passed ATM's, electric doors, some petrol pumps etc :-)

sadly though, you are right. there is more money to be made in enforcing ridiculous tolerances (3kmh) than there is in genuinely saving lives.

there were 7 die on WA roads last week. not one in the city. yet you only see speed cameras in the country once a year (when the rally is in town). if cameras are truly life savers, then they would be deployed state wide, not just where the $$$ are to be made.

not too sure about the vinyl seats though...
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Old 10-25-2002, 20:06   #4 (permalink)
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All that money they make from speed cameras and what not should go into making safer roads. There's a few roads around Sydney that would make ideal rally courses. I can see how people can have accidents but I guess good roads aren't important because after all, SPEED KILLS not driving on goat tracks
I drove past a "Registered Revenue Making Squad™ last month, there was about 4 cop cars on a well known, very dimly, lit and WIDE road... hiding between parked cars (my lights hit their reflective signage that's how I knew they were there). It was about 2am so NO ONE was around... they heard me from a mile away (as you do with Dual Exhausts™) and probably thought... "MMMMM potential revenue maker" all of them stood up ready for the kill.. so I said stuff them... backed off the loud pedal (not that I was speeding in the first place) and ended up doing 70km/hr past them in a 90 zone. Should of seen their dissapointed faces LOL!!! So I just on past them with a big grin... Me 1 - Police 0 I tell you, it's a much better feeling than getting chased down the street by the police (try it some time).

BTW Ain't nothing wrong with vinyl seats Russ... a bit chilly in winter and a bit sweaty in summer, you can't have everything you know
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Old 10-26-2002, 01:30   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Re: Bring back the old days

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Originally posted by xa-coupe

The best thing anyone can do is not speed... it takes money away from them !
Hmmm...it's pretty hard to not go 3 kph over - the high gearing in today's mostly automatics makes it a full time driving experience to keep under the limit - concentration on the speedo must be taking attention away from the road - which is worse a driver doing 60kph not paying full attention to the road or a driver doing 63kph and being alert to the road conditions? I know who I'd rather be sharing the road with.

On the open road drivers would have to be basically sitting on 90kph so as not to be caught inadvertently doing 103kph on a slight down hill run and taking your eyes off the speedo for 30 secs. At 90 kph I'm going to be asleep in no time. And at 90 kph we are spending 10% longer on the road - 10% more opportunity for some idiot to find you.

On the other hand, if every person issued with an infringement for less than 10kph over the limit, choose to have the matter heard in court - well, imagine the congestion the courts would face - they would soon alter their tactics.

Not only that but the ADRs call for speedos to be within 10% accuracy so it's hard to imagine a court actually being able to convict someone who was:

1. driving at a speed within the reasonable limits of the vehicle's allowable speedo error

2. not in any way displaying a deliberate intent to exceed the posted limit
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Old 10-26-2002, 07:19   #6 (permalink)
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hear hear!! hit the nail right on the head fellas.

speed limit + slushbox = too damn easy to creep over

Too damn easy to creep over + little tolerance = unsafe and $$ for government.

Put it on my civic compliance tab.
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Old 10-26-2002, 18:44   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Re: Re: Bring back the old days

Quote:
Originally posted by T3man
Hmmm...it's pretty hard to not go 3 kph over - the high gearing in today's mostly automatics makes it a full time driving experience to keep under the limit - concentration on the speedo must be taking attention away from the road - which is worse a driver doing 60kph not paying full attention to the road or a driver doing 63kph and being alert to the road conditions? I know who I'd rather be sharing the road with.

On the open road drivers would have to be basically sitting on 90kph so as not to be caught inadvertently doing 103kph on a slight down hill run and taking your eyes off the speedo for 30 secs. At 90 kph I'm going to be asleep in no time. And at 90 kph we are spending 10% longer on the road - 10% more opportunity for some idiot to find you.

On the other hand, if every person issued with an infringement for less than 10kph over the limit, choose to have the matter heard in court - well, imagine the congestion the courts would face - they would soon alter their tactics.

Not only that but the ADRs call for speedos to be within 10% accuracy so it's hard to imagine a court actually being able to convict someone who was:

1. driving at a speed within the reasonable limits of the vehicle's allowable speedo error

2. not in any way displaying a deliberate intent to exceed the posted limit
as tough as it is.. I will be honest and say that if you cant keep your car on a steady speed..you shouldn't be driving... I look at the road ahead ... but keep my speed steady.. it's not hard... if I can do it .. anyone can!
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Old 10-27-2002, 20:28   #8 (permalink)
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If it's such a hassle get cruise control or learn to drive.
I agree totally about the whole 3km crap. IMHO that just can't be legal.
I hate the hole speed camera thing simply because of how obvious a money making venture it is.
I would have no problem if speed camera were put in the places with the most "speed related" accidents.
The fact is that while there probably are more accidents on the main roads there normally from morons changing lanes or not paying attention.
Now I love to drive hard and fast through the hills in my area where the only accidents they have there are speed related. I know I put my self at risk by doing so but I enjoy it now if cameras where used up there I wouldn't do it. (can't afford it)
And believe me the government does keep data bases showing what most likly caused the accident so they could do it.
Sorry if that doesn't make to much sence but I'm chatting with a stupid customer about there internet.
Cheers.
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Old 10-27-2002, 21:21   #9 (permalink)
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Russellw brought up an interesting subject in his post - systems fitted to cars that limit a vehical's speed in conjunction with posted speed limits.

There was a good article about this very issue in the Latest NZ Autocar magazine which brought up the same points as Russellw did.
Future trends in road safety could be that all new cars (and Peugeot are debating over wether to do this at the very moment) are fitted with GPS tracking devices that limit speed and record driving behaviour.
And as stated before, politician's down under would probably reject this technology as it would put Police officers out of work.

I will post more of the article later....
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Old 10-27-2002, 21:30   #10 (permalink)
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eek

Good grief,haven't we got enough big brother now. I mean putting satelite controlled speed limiters on vehicles and recording driver behaviour is going too bloody far. Besides how would you get on in a place like the N.T. where there is no speed limit.
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